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William Chen: Introducing Americans to Taijiquan in the Summer of 1965

“I trained under William Ch’en in Taiwan and in New York City. He fools you. Meek, slender, and quiet, he might be a scholar or a student of the Book of Changes, never a boxer.….He is so relaxed that he appears to have no bones.” R.W. Smith Chinese Boxing: Masters and Methods. Kodansha International. 1971. … Continue reading

Producing “Healthy Citizens”: Social Capital, Rancière and Ladies-Only Kickboxing

Question: Why did you choose kickboxing instead of some other sport? “Apparently it is a sport that we Moroccans like…We Moroccans need one or another outlet for our aggressions.” P. 40 Question: Why do you come to this school (far from where the two cousins being interviewed live)? “’There is really nothing at all in … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (29): Savate: French Kickboxing and the Military

        Introduction     I recently discussed an account of the Chinese martial arts in late 19th century which was provided by the American diplomat, explorer, scientist and scholar William Woodvile Rockhill. While buying supplies for an upcoming expedition through western China and Tibet he recoded the following note in his journal: … Continue reading

From the Archives: The Creation of Wing Chun’s “Opera Rebels.”

***This weekend my wife and I will be away celebrating our anniversary.  As such we will be delving into the archives for our normally scheduled Friday update. The following was the first post in a three part series looking at Cantonese Opera in Chinese popular culture and its connections with the southern Chinese martial arts.  … Continue reading

Butterfly Swords and Long Poles: A Glimpse into Singapore’s 19th Century Martial Landscape

Introduction: The Weapons of Wing Chun From time to time I am asked why Wing Chun teaches only two weapons. For those unfamiliar with the system these are the long single-tailed fighting pole, favored by a number of southern Chinese styles, and the butterfly swords. Most of Guangdong’s more popular styles have extensive arsenals. The … Continue reading

Ji Gong: The Adventures of a Mad Monk in Chinese Martial Arts Fiction

Guo Xioting. Trans. John Robert Shaw. Adventures of the Mad Monk Ji Gong. Rutland VT: Tuttle. 2014. 542 Pages. Introduction: Meeting Crazy Ji Inscription on the Sarira Relics of the Recluse from the Lake, Elder Fangyuan (Square-Circle), Jidian (Crazy Ji) …. The elder was from Tiantai County in Linhai prefecture [in modern Zhejiang]. He was … Continue reading

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: March 9th, 2015: Shaolin, Wushu and Hong Kong’s Most Popular Martial Arts

    Introduction     Welcome to “Chinese Martial Arts in the News.”  This is a semi-regular feature here at Kung Fu Tea in which we review media stories that mention or affect the traditional fighting arts.  In addition to discussing important events, this column also considers how the Asian hand combat systems are portrayed … Continue reading

Aaron Cantrell (of Everything Wing Chun) on the Evolving Market for Wooden Dummies

      Introduction   There are a number of different ways of observing a community.  One of the most frequently overlooked is to pay attention to their physical culture.  What sorts of objects do individuals invest their scarce time and resources into?  How has this changed in recent years?  Of course no object better … Continue reading

Do the martial arts unite or divide us? Kung Fu and the production of “social capital”

        Introduction     The martial arts emerge from a nexus of swirling social anxieties. Are these arts the epitome of personal violence, or a pathway to peace? Do they find expression within singular warriors, or are they the driving force behind the creation of ageless communities? The question of community looms … Continue reading

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